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Ted Cruz’s lame imitation of Jimmy Stewart isn’t playing well among his Republican colleagues

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In the classic movie “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” Jimmy Stewart plays a senator who bravely filibusters against legislation born of political corruption.

In real life, Sen. Ted Cruz probably thinks his silly pseudo-filibuster against Obamacare casts him as a latter-day Mr. Smith, but it doesn’t.

Jonathan Weisman EXPLAINS:

Facing an increasingly likely defeat in his tangled procedural fight over funding the government, Senator Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor on Tuesday and declared he would speak “until I cannot stand” to rally voters against the health care law.

While the Senate appeared ready to override him in a preliminary vote scheduled for Wednesday, Mr. Cruz, a freshman Republican from Texas, pressed ahead hour after hour with his opposition, comparing his fight to efforts by leaders who stood against the Nazis, ended the cold war or started the American Revolution…

Yet outside the chamber, his colleagues worked against his efforts to block a vote to take up the House-passed bill that does precisely what he wants: financing the government through mid-December while cutting off money for the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Cruz called on his colleagues to stonewall the measure they technically supported, arguing that Senate Democrats would be successful in stripping the health care provision from the funding bill once the way was cleared to a Senate vote on the issue. His basic demand was an agreement that a final vote require 60 supporters, a demand Democrats rejected.

Other Republicans said they saw no reason to oppose debating a measure they actually backed.

“We’d be hard-pressed to explain why we were opposed to a bill we’re in favor of,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader.

Others warned of political repercussions if Republicans, who hope to regain control of the Senate in next year’s elections, were seen as contributing to a shuttering of the government. “Getting the majority in the Senate in 2014 is possible, and we don’t want to go down roads that make it harder,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who is up for re-election next year. “Repealing Obamacare is a goal all Republicans share,” he added, “but the tactics of achieving that goal can have a backlash.”

Mr. Cruz’s lonely stand was not technically a filibuster. The first vote in a long process to get to a final showdown is set for Wednesday, and Mr. Cruz cannot head off that vote. And only a handful of Republicans are expected to join him in voting against taking up the House bill…

Senior Senate Republicans pushed Mr. Cruz on Tuesday to give up his stalling tactics and let the Senate take its final votes as soon as possible to strip out the health care language and other policy prescriptions, then approve new language to keep the government operating until mid-November. An early vote would give Speaker John A. Boehner more time to plan his next move: Whether to put the Senate-passed bill up for a vote and ensure no government shutdown or to add new Republican-favored language and send it back to the Senate.

If Mr. Cruz persists and forces the Senate to exhaust the time allowed for the necessary votes, the final vote cannot happen until Sunday.

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